CHENNAI: All Motor Accident Claims Tribunals constituted under the Motor Vehicles Act in the State and the Union Territory of Puducherry have been directed by the Madras High Court to finish off the claims for compensation within a maximum period of 12 months from the date of their numbering.
A circular to this effect was issued by the High Court Registry on October 23 last to all the lower courts dealing with such cases.
It also applied restrictions with regard to adjournment of cases. “Once the matter is taken up for hearing, it shall not be adjourned beyond three working days at any point of time,” the circular said.
In support of its stipulation, the registry cited a judgment of Justice S Vaidyanathan, who, while passing orders on an appeal from the Oriental Insurance Company vs Shanthi had held on March 10, 2016, that pendency of motor vehicle accident cases for years together would cause prejudice to the injured claimants/dependents of the deceased and it was certainly painful than the injuries sustained by the claimant or the death of the deceased.
The judgment had also stipulated that the insurance company should not be asked to pay compensation to the claimants through their nose, as in many cases interest alone ran to several lakh of rupees on account of the pendency of the matter for years together before the trial court and the High Court. The guidelines should be strictly followed, the circular added.
While welcoming the stipulations, V S Suresh, a noted lawyer in this field, said it would be difficult to follow them. Against the eight posts of presiding officers for the Small Causes Courts, only two were functioning, that too on ‘incharge’ basis. There is also shortage of manpower in the courts, he said.